Appearing only a little over a year ago on the iconic Chestplate imprint, Razor Rekta unleashed his lethal dreadstep rhythms with detrimental effect. Encapsulating dub fundamentals of space and melodic meditation, Rekta delivered bass driven dubstep in its purist form. With full support from Mala and Youngsta, and of course label owner Distance, the ‘Loko-Motiv EP’ was a sell-out success. Building upon his unruly, dread-inducing signature sound, a second dosage of murky minacious beats were released several months later with the ‘Bang Ya Door’ EP. Daunting atmospherics and penetrating reece synths layered with deep swells of pure low-end, it was dark industrial music made with razor-sharp precision. With both singles received to much acclaim, and a ton of unheard dubplates to boot, the Anti-Social figurehead is certainly beginning to prove his value as a producer. Although 2013 has been quieter for Rekta in terms of putting out music, the focus has been on something larger as revealed in our interview. With that being said, his first release of the year is around the corner, so I thought it was about time I had a little chat with him to discuss all things music.
TRUSIK: Before we start I have to ask, how did you acquire the alias, Razor Rekta?
REKTA: (laughs) Yeah I thought you might ask that one. Nothing too special really, during my teenage years I was based in a record shop called Razor Records around 2000. It was primarily a DNB outlet based in Elephant and Castle which ran in conjunction with a night called Movement at Bar Rumba. The UKG side of things started to take off around 2002 and I took over the role of head buyer so that’s when the name came about.
TRUSIK: When was your first contact with electronic music, and how has it shaped you as the person you are today?
REKTA: If I’m honest, I was a massive Prodigy fan which was basically my introduction into the world of electronic music. I started listening to Hardcore around ‘92/’93 which then progressed into Jungle shortly after.
TRUSIK: Although your music started to appear around 2011/12, you had been grafting beats in the studio a number of years before. Looking back over the past couple of years, how have you progressed in your approach to music production? How much of this has contributed to the development of your current sound?
REKTA: I just try and keep things simple you know. I find it’s really easy to get caught up in the technical side of things which often means you will sacrifice something else throughout the production process. As time has progressed, I found myself working more and more out of the box so you tend to get sucked into using the hardware and figuring out new techniques etc. For me, I still try and have fun in the studio and build up a vibe with an idea and then go in again at a later time with engineering etc.
REKTA: Yeah definitely, we decided on taking a different angle to the first release soundwise, but I think people had taken to it better than expected really. We wanted to experiment a little bit trying to keep things fresh whilst still maintaining that real Chestplate feel. In terms of the movement of the camp, its been really positive having been given the opportunity to showcase the label on BBC Radio 1Xtra and taking it to Outlook and the States it really gave us the push we were looking for, not to mention launching our residency at Fabric which is a huge honour.
TRUSIK: As a member of the Chestplate, and Anti-Social families respectively, what are the rewarding aspects of being behind two prominent movements pushing the underground sound?
REKTA: I’ve never really thought of it like that, its a difficult question. They are both placed at completely different sides of the spectrum if you like and both families concentrate more extensively on particular elements when it comes to writing music. Anti-Social will maybe spend that extra bit of time in laying down chords which flow seamlessly into one another to get them sounding ‘just right’ and musically correct… and then there’s Distance who will manipulate basslines to the fullest and is consistently pushing the boundaries of synthesis/sound design. We will often bounce ideas back and forth so it’s always a good thing having people around who can encourage you to take that next step or sometimes a totally new direction altogether. Aside from that, another aspect is reaching the end product. It’s really important to have fun with experimenting and trying out new things but if by the end of it all you can produce something which is presentable to other people, this is the most rewarding by far, for me anyway.
TRUSIK: You describe some of your beats as ‘growly’, aptly named given the bass groove design of your sound. When you set out to build a track, do you focus on the low end foundations first with everything else falling into place thereafter, or is it a random process depending on the initial idea?
REKTA: I start out with random things, maybe pads/chords one day, drums another, just depends on the vibe really but my way of working has changed load over the last few years. It’s a constant learning curve and as producers we’re always trying out different things. So for me, I try and spend a good few weeks producing/recording new sounds and then when you do find the inspiration to put something down everything is already there. I think it definitely helps having a palette of sounds ready so you can create a bit of a vibe in the studio without thinking too much into the engineering side at the time.
TRUSIK: Your next release, the Tugboat EP, is dropping on Demon’s imprint, M.U.D. How did this link up come about?
REKTA: The link up came about through a good friend of mine, Biome who I feel is a real forerunner and hugely innovative within the deeper side of Dubstep. The direction in which M.U.D was moving in was something which had interested me from the off and aside from Chestplate, really stayed true to the sound, so it just seemed like the right thing to do. When I first spoke with Demon we already had similar ideas so things just took their natural course as far as the release is concerned.
TRUSIK: The EP will be digital only, whereas your singles on Chestplate were released on vinyl. How important is this for you? Is vinyl a format you would like to see your music released on in the future?
REKTA: I don’t think its something which matters too much anymore. For the collectors it’s always nice to have something physical so vinyl is all good but isn’t a necessity especially when there is so much good music out there. I think it would be pretty difficult for me to release every single track on vinyl so digital is always an option I would look at in the future.
TRUSIK: Collaborations are always a healthy approach to production. Is this an angle you have considered? Who would you most like to work with, and why?
REKTA: Yeah for sure, I have worked on a good few collabs but just held back on them due to focusing on solo projects. I think a few will be featured on the album but will reveal more on that later on. I’m not really sure if there is anyone I would most like to work with. I still keep in touch with a few of the DNB guys for example, but I’d love to do something which would take me completely out of my comfort zone so maybe working with interactive media or even film, the audio visual connection has always been a huge inspiration to me over the years so definitely a field I’d be interested in.
TRUSIK: What else can we expect from Razor Rekta in 2013, is there any forthcoming material, or other interesting projects you can spill the beans on?
REKTA: I’ve taken a bit of a break from releasing this year. I’m really keen on wrapping up the album so yeah, just more studio time really and of course trying to push the sound further. I’m currently planning my US tour for end of 2013/Early 2014 and Australia/NZ for next summer. (I’ll also be relaunching my own imprint, Cloqworq Recordings but more on that later in the year).
TRUSIK: Take us through the mix you put together for us.
REKTA: Well I always try and put them together as DJ mixes as opposed to just a compilation of my own music. I feel that’s what I started off as first and foremost, so it just seems like the most natural thing to do. It’s a selection of producers who I’m still heavily inspired by and the music runs alongside my own vision as a producer, not to mention my forthcoming release on M.U.D… hope you enjoy 🙂
TRUSIK: And finally, your five favourite tracks at the moment…?
REKTA: Always tough, but keeping it dubstep:
Distance – Broken Dawn
Biome – Magnetic
Genetix – Elevation
District – The Worm
LX One – Reflect